In the summer of 1950, Jones signed professional forms with United, moved into digs, and made his first team debut in October the same year. He telegraphed his girlfriend, June with the message “Playing in the first team, try to get here”, resulting in excited family and friends requisitioning a bus to get across the Pennines to Old Trafford. The first player to congratulate Jones on his debut was his hero, Allenby Chilton, whose centre-half position he had taken. However, despite a good performance, the older man played every match for the next three seasons, with Jones’ waiting game becoming a joke between the two players.
In 1955, he was given the opportunity to make the position his own. Crushingly dominant and commanding in the air, the enormous Jones was ever ready to help a teammate in trouble.
Outside of football, Jones enjoyed the simple things: his pigeons, his pipe and his dog, Rick. Jones also kept and trained budgies, and reportedly once missed a training session as one of them was sick. ‘Farmer Mark’ was seen as an older brother, despite his young age, and was a stable influence for some of the players, always on hand to ensure his teammates did not overdo things.